The Marvels Is the Tedious Culmination of a Lot of Superhero Homework
In a recent report about the declining state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Variety published what might be the single funniest sentence I have ever read in a trade report about the movie business.
Discussing the long-delayed reboot of Blade, a comic-book movie franchise about a good half-vampire who elaborately kills bad full-vampires with a sword, the article reported that “the story at one point morphed into a narrative led by women and filled with life lessons.” In this script, Blade—nominally the central character of the movie bearing his name, a character previously announced to be played by the Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali—”was relegated to the fourth lead.”
How, one wonders, does something like that…happen?
The screenwriter behind that concept will presumably go on to offer a script for the next Batman movie: A group of depressed housewives band together to learn life lessons while some guy dressed as a bat also punches criminals on the mean streets of Gotham.
Or perhaps the screenwriter was merely confused, somehow working under the premise that they were working on the next installment in the Captain Marvel series. Because the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Marvels, comes depressingly close to fitting the unmade Blade reboot’s description. Let’s just say it’s far from marvelous.
This sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel follows a trio of superpowered female characters: Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), the cosmically powered title character from the previous film; Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), a teen superhero from New Jersey with the ability to convert light energy into solids; and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), an astronaut affiliated with a secret military organization exploring extraterrestrial intelligence.
What brings this trio together is a marketing stunt disguised as a mystical plot device: a glowy, computer-animated space-time anomaly appears and then blah blah blah, purple m
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